Mass Skilled Immigration Not Needed

The Quote Below – More Misinformation from the Media

Even before the president did a microphone check for his immigration and border security speech in his White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon, his critics were saying they hated his plan. Good that means he must be more right than wrong. . . .

On the one side is the apoplectic crowd, distraught that the president didn’t reduce the number of legal immigrants. For starters, they might have praised the parts of the plan that will combat the real problem: illegal immigration. More to the point, the president made the right call—to transform the legal system first to one bringing in workers based on merit.

Today almost 90 percent of legal immigration are extended family members, visa lottery winners and status adjustments. About 10 percent is based on merit. Let’s change that. Get the baseline right. Stop the mass illegal immigration. Then we can all argue about the right numbers based on numbers and facts and the performance of the economy. – Why Trump’s Immigration Speech Is a Game Changer, James Carafano, FOX News, 5/16/19 [Link]

Fact Check of Quote: Carafano is correct in saying that the Trump proposal has many good things to offer, particularly steps to curb illegal immigration. And the plan offers some good steps improve legal immigration, specifically replacing family-connected chain migration with a policy based much more on selecting immigrants on the basis of their skills and potential to assimilate.

Unfortunately, these benefits are largely offset by the proposal to maintain the overall level of legal immigration. For the past twenty years it has averaged more than a million a year, the highest sustained level in our history. Why does a fully developed country such as ours need so many people? Large-scale immigration had some benefits to offer a couple of centuries ago when we had a fairly empty continent to fill—but not today.

Supporters of the Trump plan might reply that the numbers won’t be a problem because most of the legal immigrants will be “skilled.” But this raises the question of whether we really need so many people with skills. Much evidence suggests that we don’t. The claim that we have a shortage of people in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math) is belied by the fact that three-quarters of Americans with STEM college degrees don’t have jobs in STEM fields.

When we talk about skilled jobs we are basically talking about jobs that provide a middle-class income. Today, our country’s middle class is shrinking and its wage level has been stagnant in recent decades. In this situation, the last thing middle-class Americans need is a large-scale competition from “skilled” foreigners.

Under current immigration policy we’re admitting (legally and illegally) large numbers of unskilled people. They compete with disadvantaged Americans, which has significantly weakened the already difficult economic prospects of those citizens. Why should we shift this burden of competition to the middle class? Why not end it for all citizens?

Another point to consider is the ethical question of whether we should taking, as many as we can, the best and brightest people from abroad—particularly from developing countries that desperately need them. To illustrate, there are more Ethiopian doctors in Chicago than there are in Ethiopia.

Certainly we can admit a reasonable number of immigrants with selected skills. But there is no reason why a country with a third of a billion people, and some of the leading educational facilities in the world, can’t produce nearly all of the skilled people it needs. No reason at all.


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